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Making sense of Facebook’s timeline

There has been much debate about Facebook’s timeline with an equal following of lovers and haters. Regardless, it looks set to stay, at least for a while. With many marketers still finding their feet, we've put together a short hit list to help you make the most the timeline’s features quickly and easily.

What does your cover image say about you?

The new cover image provides an opportunity to make an impact in an instant. Think about what you want to say about your brand and how you want to engage with your audience.

Below, the Ted cover shows a packed event instantly telling the user what they do, whilst Oxfam demonstrate the positive impact they are having with a photo of happy, smiley children.



Take note to adhere to Facebook’s brand guidelines which stipulate that the cover image cannot include prices, offers, calls to action or contact information.

Have you updated your about us page?

The “About us” page is now much more prominent so make sure yours doing you justice. It should contain a succinct description encompassing your brand and mission. You should include links to your website allowing people to quickly find out more. You can also use the opportunity to set out what users can expect from your page, e.g. volunteering opportunities, open days etc.

What’s your story?

The new timeline allows marketers to tell brand stories in an engaging and creative way. Using photos and videos will draw users’ attention more than text only posts, so use these where possible. Don’t forget to include milestones to highlight key moments in your past too.

Most importantly be creative and remember your brand story doesn’t have to be restricted to your organisation’s achievements. For example Spotify use its timeline to illustrate its passion for music, by telling its story through the ages.

Have you visited your past?

Give your timeline’s past a spring clean, removing any posts which are of little interest. Conversely, take this opportunity to highlight exceptionally interesting or visually striking posts. This will mean the post will show across both columns.

Are your apps in order?

Firstly be aware “tabs” are now called “apps”. You have the opportunity to highlight the top four under your cover photo. Use this to draw attention to your most engaging apps and to show off new features as you launch them. There are lots of free apps out there to allow you to make full use of these feature areas, e.g. YouTube plug-ins to give you a nice looking video wall. With the landing page a thing of the past, it’s important to know you can direct your target audience to a specific app by using a unique URL.

Lastly, don’t forget to customise your app thumbnails by using custom images/photos as Cardiff University has done below.

Cardiff University

Are you making use of private messages?

The new timeline allows brands to receive and send private messages to users. This not only allows you to react to customer enquiries in a more meaningful way but also keeps your timeline clean and tidy too.